Bridling and haltering your horse
Easily bridle and halter your horse without him raising or moving his head out of reach.
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If you have trouble haltering or bridling your horse, perhaps it is because your are inadvertently making it uncomfortable for him and thus causing him to lift his head out of your reach or otherwise move it away. The following tips may help you. The horse I am using is a very nice ASH, "Cardinals Jazz", belonging to Vera Sulc.

Do not offer the bridle to the horse the way I am doing it in Photo 1. You are actually encouraging him to raise his head and otherwise evade you.

The first step is to teach your horse to lower his head from slight pressure on his poll, as in Photo 2. Once this is accomplished you are then in a better position to control your horse for the bridling.

In Photo 3 you see I have my right hand on the horses poll, controlling his head, and my left hand holds the bridle, arranged so I can easily pass it to my right hand without fumble or confusion. Note the reins are over my left arm to keep them out of the way and not left dangling. I don't like to loop the reins over the horses neck because , should he pull away for any reason, he could easily step on and damage the bridle and spook himself to boot.

Photo 4 sees the bridle transferred to my right hand and my left hand now supports the snaffle and offers it to the horse. My thumb is in Jazzs' mouth gently encouraging him to open and accept the snaffle. Try not to let the cheek straps interfere with the horses eyes. Don't try to force the bit into the horses mouth, cause him to open it with your thumb and then slide the bit in.

In Photo 5 I am about to gently bend the off-side ear forward into the headstall. You will find this is much more comfortable for the horse than sliding the headstall over the ear and then willy-nilly pulling the ear from under the strap. I always do the off-side ear first so that if the horse does move his head away from me, the bridle is less likely to come off. The near ear is then bent gently forward and the headstall is then in place.

In Photo 6 "Jazz" stands calmly with head lowered while the throatlatch is buckled.

The same procedure applies for haltering. Many times I see people trying to halter from under the horses neck as in Photo 7. They then have to literally throw the poll strap over the horses neck be able to buckle the halter and this often causes the horse to lift his head even higher or back away.

In Photo 8, I have asked the horse to lower his head with my right hand and then reached down on the off side of his neck to take the halter poll strap in my right hand. My left hand holds the nose band and I already have the horse under control. Should he decide to lift his head or back away I have, at least, a loop around his neck.

Photo 9 sees "Jazz" haltered and standing quietly. Note how the lead is draped over my arm, out of the way and not dangling to the ground so as to be a trip hazard.


    First teach the horse to lower his head from slight pressure on his poll.
    Don't try and force the bit into his mouth, use your thumb gently to cause him to open it.
    Handle the ears gently.

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